Potential basketball playing tight ends

The Saints traded Jimmy Graham to the Seahawks earlier this past week. The storyline for Seattle is that Graham makes them the odds on favorite in the NFC. For the Saints, it’s time to rebuild now that they’ve gotten rid of Drew Brees’ most effective pass-catching threat.

With much less fanfare, Julius Thomas signed as a free agent in Jacksonville. My question: are these guys that difficult to replace? Both were undervalued — if people knew Graham was going to be this exceptional, he probably would not have lasted until the third round; Julius Thomas was a fourth round pick.

What they have in common, along with Antonio Gates, is that they all played college basketball. Going back to Tony Gonzalez, the history of basketball tight ends is really strong. I can’t remember it ever not working out.

I did a quick perusal of college basketball rosters. I was looking for guys between 6-foot-2 and 6-foot-9 who were solidly built, athletic and probably not on the NBA radar. Honestly, I don’t know if 6-foot-9 would be too tall for some reason but I have some of those guys.

Branden Dawson — Michigan State — 6-6, 225 pounds — SR

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I think 225 pounds might be a little light; I would check that scale. Regardless this guy is a monster and he can jump. I bet he’s fast enough too.

Treveon Graham — VCU — 6-6, 225 — SR

treveon_graham

The Saints draft Treveon they can probably keep all those Jimmy Graham jerseys they have lying around. This is the type of guy that is perfect. He’s playing high level college on a team that requires him to do a lot athletically — they press constantly. But, he might not be quite good enough to play in the NBA. Definitely a hard-nosed guy too.

Darius Carter — Wichita State — 6-7, 245 — SR

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Classic case where a smaller school guy is a little undersized at his position but for an NFL tight end he would be huge. He’s a good leaper, which is becoming more and more important for a tight end.

Coreontae DeBerry — Cincinatti — 6-9, 275 — JR

deberry

I think this guy used to play football. To show how athletic he is, he’s a big shot blocker at 6-9. I don’t know if him being that tall is a problem, but good luck pushing him around at 275 pounds. Now, you might want to wait a year because he’s a junior. Side note, he has an awesome name.

Nnamdi Amilo — UCONN — 6-3, 225 — JR

nnamdi_amilo

Look at how built this guy is. Athleticism might be questionable because he walked onto the team after playing intramurals; actually I change my mind, that’s a plus because this isn’t a mid major — UCONN won the title last year. He has to be an incredible athlete to be able to do that. And you know with that back story that he won’t get a big head.

Thomas Gipson — Kansas State — 6-7, 265 — SR

Thomas Gipson

This is the one guy who I question whether he’s fast enough. If he is, he’s basically the exact same size as Jimmy Graham. Now, Gipson’s weight has fluctuated. You might want to just convince him to bulk up to 300 and play him at tackle; he has quick feet, but he’s not the explosive leaper as some of the other guys on this list.

Joe Thomas — Miami — 6-7, 245 — already graduated

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You already went to the well once with Jimmy Graham and this guy is a tank. Plus it would make for confusing NFL conversations because of all-pro Cleveland offensive tackle Joe Thomas.

JayVaughn Pinkston — Villanova — 6-7, 235 — SR

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Justin Anderson — Virginia — 6-6, 228 — JR

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Both of these guys are athletic enough and, I think, swol enough to work. The problem is that it would make sense for both guys to get drafted in the second round of the NBA draft. Anderson is slotted for late first round in this mock draft.

Rico Gathers — Baylor — 6-8, 275 — JR

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People are already speculating that he might be bound for the NFL. He apparently doesn’t like this talk; he’s leading the nation in rebounding, so I understand. But, I’ll put it this way — the ceiling for his NBA future would be Kenneth Faried, who is a bit of a specialist anyway. He’s probably projecting more like Reggie Evans, who can’t stay on the court because of flaws in his game. His ceiling as an NFL tight end is the best in the league.

Cliff Alexander — Kansas — 6-8, 240 — FR

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That same mock draft still has Alexander as a late round pick in the first round. I’m not buying that though. He might be a steal in the second round but I would really want him to go back to school, mainly because he’s a power forward, he’s a little undersized and he doesn’t seem to understand how to play. I don’t know how the NFL’s age thing works with a guy who has NCAA trouble in basketball but this would be a chance to steal an otherworldly athlete.

Decisions coming for quarterbacks and coaches in Denver

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I’ll come out and say it … Peyton Manning should retire.

A lot of people seem to be tiptoeing around this while talking about his disastrous first-round performance against the Colts. I think the torn quadriceps injury is indicative of the fact that he can’t physically handle the rigors of playing quarterback in the league. He’s 38 years old and he’s played a lot of games.

Here’s some things he can do when his playing days are over:

  • Be a full-time pitchman. Imagine how many more commercials Papa John’s, Buick and Nationwide could squeeze if they had all fall and winter too.
  • Make a billion dollars as a quarterback guru. You see these quarterback whisperers pop up all over the place — none of them are Peyton Manning.

A scenario to consider: the Patriots win the Super Bowl and Tom Brady and Peyton Brady retire in the same off-season. After another disappointing year, Drew Brees retires the next off-season.

The NFL front office might poop a brick if this actually happens.

I did a ranking of the league’s dependable quarterbacks. Here’s how that list would look (in order of dependability) with those three guys off of it:

  • Aaron Rodgers
  • Andrew Luck
  • Ben Roethlisberger
  • Matt Ryan
  • Russell Wilson
  • Joe Flacco (I put him up here on the strength of another good playoff showing)
  • Eli Manning (I’ll move up Manning too, although the last two years have been a disaster)

And for good measure the 50 percent of the time dependable quarterbacks:

  • Cam Newton (he’s the closest)
  • Matthew Stafford
  • Andy Dalton
  • Alex Smith
  • Jay Cutler
  • Ryan Tannehill
  • Colin Kaepernick (but I think he might be bad)
  • Teddy Bridgewater (somewhat shaky)
  • Carson Palmer (if he ever plays again)

With both lists, and there are big question marks on that second list, that’s 16 quarterbacks. If you’re keeping track, the NFL has 32 teams. Anyway, the reason I think it’s good if Brady, Peyton and Brees all retire, all in tier one by the way, is because it will lower the bar of NFL quarterbacking.

Right now, every young guy gets judged against Brady and Manning and I don’t know why that’s fair. Think about it, what does everybody say about quarterbacks — you’ve got to study film until your eyes bleed, you’ve got to stay after practice and work the receivers and you’ve got to be the first one in the building and the last to leave. Brady and Manning are exceptionally good at reading defenses and making adjustments — like on a supernatural level. People think that if you’re smart and you work hard you can just do that and that’s not really true as Kurt Warner pointed out yesterday on Mike&Mike.

Let’s take Cam Newton for example. I think the perception of Cam changes if the bar gets lowered a little. People will see the things he can do — throw deep, pick up first downs with his legs and be durable — more than the things he can’t — run a 4-wide offense like Peyton Manning.

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I think part of the reason people might convince Manning to stick around is his 2013 performance: 68 percent completions, 5,477 yards, 55 touchdowns, only 10 interceptions and 8.3 yards per pass. But I think we should take into account: Peyton was playing with by far the best set of skill position players he’s ever had and the scheme, with lots of short throws, helped compensate for a loss of arm strength.

It’s a good thing one of the purveyors of that scheme, head coach John Fox, is still around … Hold on … Wait, you’re telling me the Broncos fired John Fox?

What the Hell is going on out here?

Seriously, the Broncos are out of their collective horse minds if they think they can find a better coach than John Fox.

Here’s the active coaches who have coached in a Super Bowl:

  • Bill Bilechick (3-2)
  • Tom Coughlin (win, win)
  • Mike Tomlin (win, loss)
  • John Harbaugh (win)
  • Pete Carroll (win)
  • Mike McCarthy (win)
  • Sean Payton (win)
  • Jeff Fisher (loss)
  • Jim Caldwell (loss)
  • Andy Reid (loss)
  • Lovie Smith (loss)

So John Fox is one of four active coaches, because he’s already got a job with the Bears, who’s coached two Super Bowls. All the rest of those guys are happily married with their current teams. Jim Harbaugh (loss) would have been an interesting candidate but he’s stuck with the Michigan job for now.

Now there are some other guys floating around. I think I’ll break them down one-by-one.

Mike Shanahan

I like to think this is what he looked like when he watched RG3's knee explode.

I like to think this is what he looked like when he watched RG3’s knee explode.

  • Won two Super Bowls
  • Best team: 1998 Broncos, 14-2 and Super Bowl champs
  • Improbable playoff run: 2000 Broncos at the helm of Brian Griese
  • Playoff run that should haunt him: 1996 Broncos that lost to the expansion Jaguars
  • Playoff record with John Elway: 7-1
  • Playoff record with anyone else: 1-5
  • Ruined RG3’s career

This would be beyond crazy, so let’s move on.

Bill Cowher

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  • Won a Super Bowl with 2005 Steelers
  • Lost Super Bowl to great Cowboys team with 1994 Steelers
  • 149-90 regular season record in 15 seasons all with Steelers
  • 12-9 postseason record
  • Won division eight times
  • Best team: 2005 Steelers, 11-5, won super bowl
  • Improbable playoff run: 2002 Steelers with Tommy Maddox at the helm
  • Playoff run that should haunt him: 2001 Steelers, lost to Patriots in AFC title game (if there was a year to beat the Patriots it would have been that one)

If Cowher is seriously considered, people need to realize that he has not coached for nine years. That’s a long time.

Jon Gruden

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  • Won a Super Bowl
  • Best Team: 2002 Buccaneers, 12-4 and won the Super Bowl
  • Took over that team after it was built by Tony Dungy
  • Record since then is 45-51
  • Made the playoffs five times
  • Had a sub .500 record three times
  • Improbable playoff run: 2005 Buccaneers who somehow went 11-5 with Brian Griese and Chris Sims
  • Playoff run that should haunt him: 2001 Raiders, tuck-rule game that Ray Lewis was yelling about earlier this week
  • Has gradually been becoming a real life cartoon on ESPN since 2009

Do we think players could take him seriously now? This would be like John Madden trying to coach in the 80s.

Tony Dungy

tony_dungy

  • Won Super Bowl
  • First black coach in NFL history
  • Built Bucs into a Super Bowl caliber team, although the Bucs’ record did get worse the final three years he coached them
  • Regular season record: 139-69
  • Made playoffs 11 times
  • Playoff record: 9-10
  • Improbably playoff run: 1999 Bucs lead by Shaun King, lost to the Rams in part because of a controversial call
  • Playoff run that should haunt him: 2008 Colts, Brady was hurt this year and the Patriots missed the playoffs

Dungy is who my Broncos fan coworker wants. He should know that Dungy has a lot of examples of playoff runs that should haunt him: the Bucs were championship caliber for three seasons and lost to the Eagles in the divisional round two years in a row. The 2005 Colts were 14-2 and were the more talented team than the Steelers that year who in fairness did win a crazy game.

Let’s compare that to Fox

John Fox

  • Lost two Super Bowls
  • Took over 1-15 Panthers team and they went to the Super Bowl just two years later
  • Regular season record: 119-89
  • Playoff record: 8-7
  • Record with the Broncos: 46-18
  • Made the playoffs seven times
  • Has four sub .500 seasons including a 2-14 year that got him fired in Carolina
  • Best team: 2013 Broncos, 13-3 and lost Super Bowl
  • Improbable playoff run: 2011 Broncos, the Tim Tebow team
  • Playoff run that should haunt him: 2008 Panthers who lost to the Cardinals at home but Jake Delhomme did have six turnovers in that game
  • That same Jake Delhomme was the Panthers quarterback when they made the Super Bowl in 2003

I think the Tim Tebow year gives Fox the edge over Dungy in my opinion. Fox was willing to completely change his offense and philosophy to fit Tim Tebow’s skills.

Even if Peyton comes back and Broncos get Dungy, I think letting Fox go will come back to haunt them.

College Football Hodge Podge

There is but one game in the college football season, afterwards the amount I care about football will dip considerably. There’s still a few debates out there though.

The great Jameis Winston vs. Marcus Mariota argument

Marcus Mariota

If I was the GM of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, I would take Mariota and hire someone from Oregon, starting with Mark Helfrich and working my way down, to teach the team the Oregon offense.

Now, I do think the system quarterback criticism is interesting. Mariota throws to a lot of open receivers — I’m not going to act like he doesn’t. On one hand, Sam Bradford was called a system quarterback and I’m very open about my dislike for the former Oklahoma QB. However, the No. 1 criticism against Aaron Rodgers was that he was a system quarterback. This just in: Aaron Rodgers is the best QB in football.

My point is that the system quarterback stuff is bull crap and if teams are that worried about it install the system for your particularly offensive challenged team.

I don’t think Winston is going to bad. If I was taking Winston I would run the same offense Baltimore used with young Joe Flacco, which is pound the ball on the ground and throw deep, The one place where Winston is undoubtedly a better quarterback (other than attracting off the field attention) than Mariota is his ability to throw bombs.

Who I would hire to be my NFL coach

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I swear this will lead to a college football point. Here’s my top NFL coaching candidates:

  • Mark Helfrich
  • Urban Meyer (especially if Ohio State wins)
  • Art Briles
  • Kevin Sumlin
  • Hue Jackson
  • Teryl Austin
  • Rex Ryan

What I would avoid like the plague is any guy who was an NFL coach and now is not, except for Sexy Rexy who had some unfortunate circumstances. Any one who wants to give Mike Shanahan a job deserves to have their young star quarterbacks ruined. So there’s no way anyone would give Mike Martz or Brian Billick a job, right? Why isn’t Mike Shanahan looked at as Stegosaurus? Sure Brian Billick was lucky to have the greatest defense of all time. Shanahan had John Elway and road Terrell Davis into the ground. And that was 15 years ago.

The problem with my list is that college coaches may not want to leave the friendly confines of their local campuses. Jim Harbaugh is showing everyone that you can make just as much money and not have to deal with as much crap. Win-win. Brian Schottenheimer just left an offensive coordinator position with the Rams to take and o coordinator position at Georgia. Normally that’s a big step down, but these days …

Who I like in the national title game

oregon_ducks

I think a concept that does not get discussed enough by ESPN types is the idea of having a deserving program. I understand that it is a subjective and fluid though. But, Oregon has paid its dues as a program. The Ducks have progressively gotten better and better since the Joey Harrington days in the early 2000s. It’s undoubtedly the power program in the Pac 12 and it would take a fat recruiting scandal to ruin that. They should have a national title.

While it was wonderful that the Buckeyes defeated Alabama, I know their fans will be the biggest of beat downs if Ohio State wins the title. Even though 2002 was a dozen years ago, it’s not long enough to bring a title back to Columbus. They need to wait another decade.

The NFL’s Biggest Problem

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Every five years or so the NBA goes through a philosophical revolution. These days the association is about spacing the floor, perimeter defense and hitting corner 3s. At this point, having two low-post oriented big men is a detriment. Probably in five years, the league will swing back the other way — possibly spurred by the glut of big men coming from college this year.

Baseball also undergoes these changes in attitude, with, I think, one emphasizing speed and contact on the near horizon. Their philosophical changes just happen to be 10 or more years apart.

The NFL, in the past anyway, usually had their philosophical modifications happen naturally through coaching or personnel. The NFL is in dire need of an attitude adjustment.

I think the League is in a very similar situation as the NBA in the early 2000s. Back in the era of Allen Iverson and young Kobe Bryant, the NBA was viewed as bereft of likeable stars and rife with troublemakers. However, the style of play was also consistently frustrating. The knuckleheads were gradually weeded out of the league and rule changes encouraged a more entertaining, offensive style of play. For awhile LeBron was the most hated and popular player in the league, and he’s never been in any criminal trouble.

Yes, player conduct is a huge issue for the NFL. Yes, concussions are a threatening long-term issue. But the reason the NFL is getting beat in the ratings by The Walking Dead is that the NFL has been extremely boring this year.

The problem, I feel, is that teams are far too dependent on quarterbacks and there just aren’t enough good ones in the league. Here are the winning quarterbacks in the league:

  • Aaron Rodgers
  • Tom Brady
  • Peyton Manning
  • Ben Roethlisberger
  • Tony Romo
  • Phillip Rivers
  • Andrew Luck
  • Russell Wilson
  • Drew Brees (hanging on)
  • Matt Ryan

And some borderline guys:

  • Matthew Stafford
  • Cam Newton
  • Colin Kaepernick
  • Eli Manning (maybe it’s unfair for a two-time super bowl winner but he needs to stop throwing so many picks)
  • Joe Flacco
  • Teddy Bridgewater
  • Andy Dalton

I would put Carson Palmer in that second group if there was an indication he was actually going to come back and play. Let’s examine that list. Ten teams every week have an offense that works because of their quarterback alone. Seven more teams have an offense that works about 50 percent of the time because of their quarterbacks. There are 15 more teams that are varying degrees of unwatchable because of their quarterback play.

Now that last sentence is not entirely accurate, because the Eagles are competent in spite of their quarterback play. And there in lies one of my fixes. Chip Kelly and Jim Harbaugh are two of the best coaches in the league coming from college. For most of NFL history, college coaches have struggled to transition to the pro game, with exceptions like Jimmy Johnson. But the NFL drastically needs injections of new blood. All the open jobs at the end of the year should go to college guys, Art Briles probably first.

Second why are so few quarterbacks transitioning successfully into the league? Is that defenses are just so talented? Here’s the elite defenses in the league:

  • Seattle
  • Arizona
  • San Francisco
  • Denver
  • Detroit
  • Buffalo
  • Houston
  • Cincinnati
  • Miami
  • Baltimore

Actually there’s more quality quarterbacks in the league than defenses. That makes sense because it’s harder to play defense than it used to be Also, none of the defenses this year could hold a candle to the best units from a decade ago.

NFL offenses are too complicated. I think back to Robert Griffin III’s rookie year. Part of the reason he was so successful is that the offense was simplified and modified to his strengths. Granted, Griffin’s injuries have been a big factor in the decline in his play, but why did they change the scheme when it worked like gangbusters the year before? Let’s look at Russell Wilson. Wilson has endured sustained success in Seattle because he doesn’t try to do too much and he isn’t asked to do too much.

I think coaches go out of their way to make these offenses so complicated as a testament to their genius. Then they complain the quarterbacks can’t make the reads. Maybe if there weren’t five reads on each play it would be easier.

Another solution, treat running quarterbacks like running backs and change them out every three to four years. Sometimes you’ll have an elite talent like Mariota, Newton, Wilson or Griffin, maybe you try to get five years out of one of those guys. But you could also run a Tebow or Dak Prescott into the ground. You just don’t pay them as much.

While I’m solving NFL problems, I’ll tackle the concussion issue as well, and it might very well help the style of play too.

Positional weight limits, combined with softer helmets (I believe there is a style that has foam outside of the shell).

  • Offensive lineman: 300 pound maximum
  • Defensive tackles: 290 pounds
  • 3-4 Defensive ends: 270 pounds
  • 4-3 defensive ends: 260 pounds
  • Linebackers: 240 pounds
  • Pass rushing linebackers: 250 pounds
  • Cornerbacks: 200 pounds
  • Safeties: 210 pounds
  • Tight ends: 230 pounds
  • Wide Receivers: 210 pounds, unless their over 6-4 then they can be 220
  • Running backs: 230 pounds
  • Quarterbacks: 240 pounds (because many of them are so tall)

Seriously, do any of these positions need to weight more than this?

been in seri

Time to bench Maty Mauk?

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Maty Mauk went 6-for-18 with 20 yards and an interception yesterday against Florida. He was 9-for-21 with 97 yards and four picks against Georgia. He was 12-for-34 for 132 yards and (by the grace of God) zero interceptions against South Carolina. That’s three putrid games in a row. With Mizzou’s style of offense, a 50 percent completion rate is not too much to ask for.

Now the Tigers won two of those games against South Carolina and Florida. Pretty much everyone else was stellar against UF yesterday, but you cannot expect to get two defensive touchdowns and two return touchdowns every week.

It’s weird. In the NFL, where you get to keep your players for as long as you’re willing to pay them, I think Mauk would have been benched already. In college there is more thought put into ruining a guy’s confidence because Mauk might be our best option next year. He’s only a redshirt sophomore. Chase Daniel, Blaine Gabbert and James Franklin all went through growing pains when they went to full-time duty (Gabbert a little less so but he threw slants and screens all-day long to Danario Alexander, who was a monster that season).

Then again Mizzou has an outside chance of winning the SEC east. The Tigers need Georgia to lose to someone, Florida on Nov. 1 would be perfect but unlikely (because Florida’s offense was even more of a train wreck than Mizzou’s yesterday). Tennessee in Knoxville, Texas A&M in College Station, Kentucky at home and Arkansas at home are all winnable games — Vandy at home is an absolute must win. But winning any of those games is a dubious proposition if Mauk can’t complete passes.

Mizzou’s other options at QB are Corbin Berkstresser and Eddie Printz. After seeing Berkstresser flub multiple games during Franklin’s injury woes two years ago, I’m not enthused about seeing the redshirt junior back in action, but he’s big — 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds — and has experience. Printz is a redshirt freshman but just a little bit smaller than Berkstresser — 6-foot-2 and 215 — and he was highly touted recruit.

The book is out on Mauk. It reads, rush him up the middle, watch him flee the pocket and then wait for an ill-advised pass on the run. If Printz is the eventual answer, next week against an over-matched Vanderbilt team may not be a bad time for his first start.

Is the Tampa 2 dead?

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Two weeks ago, the Falcons just waxed the Bucs on Thursday night football, 56-14. The thinking was, when Lovie Smith took the job in the Bay, that he would immediately improve a Buccaneer defense that has very good players in place — Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David and Alterraun Verner (one of my favorite NFL names). He’s had numerous injuries to deal with, specifically McCoy, but it has not happened thus far.

At this point, I believe Smith is the last disciple of the cover 2 defense. Smith was the Rams D coordinator for the Sheep’s second Super Bowl in 2002. It’s my favorite style of NFL defense. It was en vogue for a while. Tony Dungy had the most success with it in Tampa but continued to use the defense with lesser players in Indianapolis, eventually winning a Super Bowl. Smith brought the defense to Chicago and the Bears ran it to perfection, particularly in 2006. I forgot they actually faced off in that Super Bowl.

Lately, the defense has not looked good. On top of Smith’s latest struggles was the debacle in Dallas last year when Monte Kiffin, Dungy’s D coordinator in Tampa, took over the Cowboys defense. Debacle in Dallas is an entertaining phrase; it will be weird if the Cowboys are ever dominant again.

The cover 2 defense stretches back to Dungy’s days as a player, when it was a dominant force for Chuck Knoll’s Steelers of the ’70s. I don’t think the defense is dead. I think fundamentally it’s principals are still sound. It’s great for stopping the run with four down lineman and three linebackers. It is meant to encourage the type of throws that are the most difficult to make — down the sideline in a window between a corner and safety. But, I think NFL personnel has changed since the mid 2000s and finding the guys who fit the system is more difficult

The ideal Tampa 2 defense with today’s players

ndamukong_suh

1. A quick defensive tackle. Warren Sapp was a hall of famer in the Tampa 2. Because you have two tackles, neither has to be a behemoth like a Star Lotulelei or Haloti Ngata (I wish I wouldn’t have picked two examples with difficult to spell names). A guy who is big and quick is perfect, Ndamukang Suh. I also think Sheldon Richardson would work.

mario_williams

2. A defensive end who just destroys quarterbacks. Julius Peppers filled this role most effectively for the Bears. Simeon Rice is the prototype, wreaking havoc for the 2002 Bucs Super Bowl team. Ideally you would want this guy to be a little bit bigger, to make teams pay for running at him. Mario Williams fits the bill, although his career has been a bit of a roller coaster ride.

luke_kuechly

3. An unequivocally great middle linebacker. This is the hardest position to fill. Because many teams, including in college, go with a 3-4, it devalues middle line backing play. You need a guy that is equally good against the run and the pass (extremely rare) and just needs to be supernaturally fast for his size. There’s a reason Derrick Brooks and Brian Urlacher are both hall of famers. I think Luke Kuechly might be the only guy in the NFL who fits this need.

LavonteDavidBucsFumbleRecovery640

4. Fast, swarming outside linebackers. The Bucs actually have this partially covered because Lavonte David is one of the best in the game. I also think Sean Weatherspoon with Atlanta (and Mizzou stalwart) would be a good fit. The thing with the Tampa 2 is that you really need three good linebackers, but when you have that group it makes running the ball very difficult.

vontae_davis

5. A ballhawking corner who can also play the run. Again, talk about rare. Peanut Tillman was perfect in this job. The guy doesn’t have to be a great cover guy but he has to be able to tackle. Vontae Davis is good at bump and run. Really any corner on this list would work but you’re going to have to spend a high draft pick, or be a development wizard like Pete Carroll.

eric_weddle

6. A play making safety. This can come in different forms. John Lynch was a monster against the run (I do not condone the tackling in the last video; I think he led with the crown of his helmet at least 70 percent of the time). Bears safety Mike Brown did it more with interceptions. I like Eric Weddle in this role in my Tampa 2.

The Most Annoying Things About College Football

While I like college football more than the NFL these days, it is still a fountain overflowing with irritating happenstance, often celebrated by particular fans.

Without further ado, a few of my least favorite things.

5. Heisman Trophy Talk

2011 Heisman Trophy Winner Portraits

No other trophy is as celebrated for meaning so little, even Grammys there’s usually some buffer — well all of these great artists didn’t win a Grammy. There are no apologies for the Heisman — nobody ever comes out and says maybe we shouldn’t have given it to Troy Smith, Jason White or Eric Crouch. And then announcers talk about it in the first couple games of the season, like its not a completely arbitrary selection process. Sometimes they get it right, like Cam Newton, but comparing their success rate to blind squirrels is an insult to all visually impaired rodents.

4. Nick Saban and “the process”

nick-saban-670x742

First off, Nick Saban is a great coach. He wins all the time. But, “the process,” as he calls it, is grade A bologna. Saban does not have a premium on discipline; I doubt his practices or preparation or game plans are really much different from most other college coaches. Saban has compiled such a sterling record at Alabama because he recruits the best players. He can recruit the best players because he won a championship at LSU and was a coach in the NFL long enough for a cup of coffee. He has name recognition and notoriety.

3. Notre Dame’s Persistent Academic Double Talk

notre-dame-academic-fraud-twitter-reactions

You’ve all heard it. “It’s so hard to recruit at Notre Dame because our academic standards are so stringent.” Sure Notre Dame is a fine institution of learning, but in the words of Miss Mona Lisa Vito, the defense does not hold water. So you’re saying your academic standards keep you from recruiting players like Richard Sherman, David DeCastro, Coby Fleener and Doug Baldwin, how come all of those guys went to Stanford? Isn’t Stanford a higher rated school than you guys? On this list Stanford is at No. 4 and Notre Dame is at 16. That’s weird. Are you saying Stanford doesn’t care about academics as much as Notre Dame? How about all you golden domers just admit that you haven’t been that good at football over the last two decade and stop with the humblebrag excuses.

2. Florida State’s Tomahawk Chop

tomahawk_chop

None of the pieces of this celebration would be that annoying in isolation. It’s when you put together — the hand motion, chant and fight song — and then repeat incessantly throughout a contest it becomes a stew of grating chum. A lot of teams do this type of celebration just after touchdowns — Kansas State for instance has the Wabash Cannonball, which they do like two or three times a game. Last night, FSU only scores 17 points and I’m still listening to a chorus chanting ohs like ever few minutes. The weird thing is, Seminoles as a team name, not racist — the tribe itself supports it — but the chant in the tomahawk chop is a little demeaning. Damnit I want to like FSU more than Florida. My team, Mizzou, has to play Florida every year and Tallahassee is closer to where I live. But the tomahawk chop makes it difficult.

1. The Oklahoma Fight Song

oklahoma

Fight songs are innately annoying, especially your own when your team is losing as I experienced with Mizzou yesterday. But the Oklahoma fight song is a special breed. Heard once and it scratches the ear drums like a knife blade on a metal cookie sheet. However, the OU fight song is like Lays potato chips to a 500 pound man. Every first down, every tackle — you hear it over and over. In my version of Hell, the Oklahoma fight song will be pumped straight into my brain as the devil shocks my testicles with a cattle prod.